by Will Overton
Scheduling this year is weird in the NFL and week nine is one of those crazy super bye weeks with six teams on bye. Four of the teams have several fantasy starters and the other two have at least a couple of them.
Now it’s week nine and teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt and every win feels extra important. With that in mind working the wire to find your fill ins is more important than ever this week. As we always do we’ll look at some guys who came up big yesterday and some guys who could come up big next week based on matchup.
Joe Flacco – QB, Baltimore Ravens: If you’re looking for a fill in quarterback this coming week there’s a chance Joe Flacco is available in your league, assuming we’re talking about a standard league. If he is available he could make a very nice one week play. Flacco is pretty quietly having a nice season and over the last four weeks he has 7 TD’s and just 2 INT’s. The Ravens haven’t completely abandoned their run first approach, but with the weapons they have they have utilized the pass more.
This week Flacco and the Ravens get the Steelers in prime time and the Steelers pass D is somewhat suspect. Two weeks ago Flacco threw a pair of TD’s against them and it may have been worse if it wasn’t such a blowout. I expect another nice performance this week from Flacco.
Michael Vick – QB, New York Jets: If you want to make a bit more of a splash with your free agent pickup Michael Vick is your guy. I assume the benching of Geno Smith wasn’t a temporary thing, and we all know what kind of upside Vick has for fantasy purposes. Don’t plan on using him this week against the Chiefs, but he’s gotta be worth a flier for the stretch. Vick didn’t throw the ball well yesterday, but he did run for 69 yards and that kind of run production makes for a very appealing fantasy play.
Jonas Gray – RB, New England Patriots: We knew the Patriots would find someone to help carry the load left behind by Stevan Ridley since they seem to see Shane Vereen as more of a pass catching back. It was a bit of a surprise to see Jonas Gray be the guy who emerged yesterday. Gray carried the ball 17 times yesterday for 86 yards, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
At 5’10 and 225 lbs, Gray is more of your traditional workhorse kind of back. This week’s showdown with the Broncos could turn into a Brady vs. Manning shootout, but Gray likely earned his chance at being the featured back on the ground.
Odell Beckham Jr – WR, New York Giants: The Giants were off yesterday which means they should be extra prepared for this coming Monday’s game with the Colts. Just in case you missed the Colts game yesterday, their secondary was picked apart to the tune of well over 500 yards through the air and six passing TD’s. The Colts pass defense had actually been really good, so maybe this was an aberration, but I think there are some clear flaws that were exposed.
Meanwhile the Giants will be relying heavy on Odell Beckham Jr with Victor Cruz out and he has shown a few flashes of upside with three TD grabs in his last three games. I’d add Beckham if he’s available and I wouldn’t hesitate to use him.
Donte Moncrief – WR, Indianapolis Colts: On the other side of the ball from Beckham and the Giants will be Donte Moncrief coming off a “coming out party” kind of game. Moncrief had seven catches for 113 yards and a TD grab yesterday against the Steelers. The breakout game should be asterisked a little bit though. Moncrief did this as a starter with Reggie Wayne sitting on the shelf. He also did this in a game where the Colts were playing from behind pretty much right from the start. The Colts only ran the ball a total of 10 games, and three of those were Andrew Luck. Moncrief is talented and he’s got a good chance of being the heir apparent to Wayne and forming a nice 1-2 punch with T.Y. Hilton down the road. When Wayne comes back Moncrief’s current value will take a hit. If you need a WR watch Wayne’s status and if he may be unavailable, grab Moncrief and hope for a repeat.